The Kiss Quotient and the Bride Test add up to a marriage made in heaven!

 

booklove orangutan

Well, I have something to confess: I had a bit of summer fling last month and discovered a new favourite romance author. We’d better dive straight into these mini reviews, before I get all hot and flustered about this (now-not-so) secret love affair…

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The Kiss Quotient– wowee- this was love at first line! I read this in one sitting and let’s just say I was more than simply satisfied! Not only was this super steamy at times, it also made me unreasonably emotional. Because this was more than a top-notch romance: it delivered time and again on so many other levels. I think it’s the first time I have ever read a romance featuring an autistic lead and that aspect to the story blew me away. Added to this, I really liked how the family aspect and friendships were developed. This enjoyment was multiplied by exciting themes like the fake dating trope and even touched on the pressures of being single. The only reason this wasn’t a full-length review was that I was too absorbed in it and forgot to take notes. Happy to report, this one definitely lives upto the hype!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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bride test

The Bride Test– obviously once I was done with Kiss Quotient, I bounced to the next available book in this loosely connected companion series. Now, while I didn’t love this quite as much, I can safely say this gets really romantic!! Perhaps more so even than its predecessor. It was emotional. It was heartwarming. And it ended in squeals, lots and lots of squeals. And I LOVE-LOVE-LOVED how these books aren’t just about the romance- they are also about character growth. These are such well-rounded books centred around wonderful characters. As well as this, I have to say that I love how personal these stories are for Hoang- I appreciated reading these in the acknowledgements and it certainly shines through in the writing. All in all, you can’t go wrong with either of these. If you’re into romance like me and you pick these up- well you’re in for a treat!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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So romance fans- have you read either of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

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As Predicted, Good Omens was More Than Just “Good”

Well this was a thoroughly enjoyable read… about the apocalypse. Yup- you read that right. This a comedy about the end of the world. The likes of which only the combined genius of Pratchett and Gaiman could have come up with. Melding their equally sharp wits and sense of humour, they created one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a long while. And obviously, it’s packed full with lots and lots of laugh out loud moments!

Brilliantly written, chock full of hilarious and colourful characters and with a great story to book- it’s no wonder this became a cult classic. Happily, there’s a great story as well. In an elegant fashion, we move from the beginning of the universe, right up until the point when it’s doomed to end. As you might expect, it’s an incredibly complex story, with a lot of layers, and the absolute worst thing you could do as a reviewer for such an ineffably multifaceted work is lose one’s notes… which is exactly what I’ve gone and done. Either that or I was too distracted by the book to write anything down, cos it’s just that good 😉

So, I’m working on the fly here, which is a little tricky when we’re talking about such EPIC scale things like god, global catastrophes and intriguing philosophies. Because of course this is more than just surface-level entertainment. As I’ve come to expect from these two powerhouses, this is a fascinating approach on the nature of good and evil, the shades of grey in between and whether angels can indeed dance on the head of a pin.

Ultimately, this small book packs a punch and is one I’ll more than happily reread (maybe next time I’ll manage to take notes 😉). Fortunately though, the fun didn’t stop there, because I managed to catch the adaptation on Prime!

Now, you’ve probably heard about the (patently absurd) scandal around this, which spectacularly backfired, so you might have already heard more sane people rising to the show’s defence and raving about how good it is!

Visually stunning and with a lot of great performances- especially from Tenant and Sheen (no surprises there)- this managed to both fully reflect the qualities of the book, whilst not being the exact same thing. There were changes- as expected- but nothing that was detrimental to the original. Some parts were streamlined and there were brilliant additions (I’ll get to in a moment), but most importantly, this captured the spirit of the original.

Speaking of parts not in the book (told you I’d get there), the opening to episode three, which explored Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship in full was beautifully done. While taking up half the episode’s run time, it was so seamlessly integrated that I almost felt like I must have read it. What I liked best about it, however, was how it felt like a tribute to Pratchett and Gaiman’s friendship- and it felt all the more poignant for that. In fact, the whole backstory of how this show ended up being made makes me pretty emotional.

So, let’s hop skip and a jump to that final showdown before I tear up again! And gosh, it was done well. While a little different to the book, I did love the show’s twist ending and it certainly did its job of keeping me on my toes.

Gotta give these both 5 bananas- meaning ten in total- after all there’s no need to be stingy since they saved us from the end times…

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Have you read or watched this? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – July

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So, we’re in July and maybe the heat is baking my brain… but is anyone else baffled by the way the earth continues to orbit round the sun faster and faster every year? Just me? Anyhoo, I hit a bit of a slump this month, so the most exciting part of my journey was rereading Carry On again (which OMG is somehow better than I remembered and if you don’t know why I can happily provide you with reasons to read it!) Sadly though, most of my new reads were a bit meh and I didn’t have a lot of thoughts on them… hence this is gonna be a quick post.

truly madly guilty

Truly Madly Guilty– as a lot of you know, I was blown away by Big Little Lies last year, so I had high expectations for this. Unfortunately, this took a lot longer for me to be truly invested and it was pretty slow going. HOWEVER, once the crazy shenanigans did get going, I couldn’t put it down. I’d say it was definitely saved by the last 30%. This ended up being a solid domestic thriller- if not the best in the world.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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conversations with friend

Conversations with Friends- oh gosh my thoughts on this one are not gonna gain me any friends, since this seems to be universally loved. I did not get on well with this at all. Generally speaking, this is the kind of okay writing I might give 2*, except that I couldn’t think of a single thing I liked about it. Like I said, the writing was fine, if a little lifeless, but what did me in was the lack of quotation marks. Bear in mind, this wasn’t a dystopia or sci fi where odd punctuation might have blended seamlessly with the story, this was just an attempt to elevate lame ass “conversations with friends” to something worthy of the title Literary Fiction (in case it isn’t obvious, I hate the title too). Well, in terms of fulfilling generic conventions, it got the whole pretentious-wanker-writer mc part down. Actually, everyone in this was pretentious, so that didn’t make her stand out. Speaking of which, the main character was a bore. And do you know how I knew this? She frickin tells the reader. Seriously. Don’t tell me your mc is a plank of wood because a) it’s telling not showing and b) you’ve instantly made me disinterested in her. I can’t exactly praise the plot either- too many dysfunctional relationships and nonsensical extra-marital affairs for my liking (none of their choices in this department made sense to me and they seemed devoid of logical, human emotions). One of the worst things though was that this was set in Dublin and yet the whole thing was so colourless it felt like it could’ve been anywhere. What a waste. Sorry, I can’t spare a banana for this one, just giving it a banana peel…

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unexpected everything

The Unexpected Everything– I enjoyed this, though it didn’t have that *sweep me off my feet* feeling that a lot of Matson’s books do. For me, there was quite a bit more potential here than it achieved. I did like the characters, but I wasn’t feeling the romance. Personally, I thought the random side character she was almost with (Topher) would’ve made for a more interesting choice (since it was a book about missed opportunities, getting back together with an ex she’d never given a chance to would’ve been more interesting). And funnily enough, I wasn’t the only one that thought this- I gave the book to my sister the Monkey Baby and she said the exact same thing. To top it off, I felt like the whole meet cute with dog walking was completely random. The family aspect was the emotional heart of the book- as is often the case with Matson- I just felt it was resolved too quickly. The friend drama was an entertaining subplot and thought it was especially realistic that it wasn’t fully resolved- I’m just allergic to texting in books and that bit got on my nerves. Still this book did have redeeming qualities. I always appreciate a good story within a story and the whole aspect with Clark having writer’s block worked really well. And though it might seem like I had a bad time reading this, I did enjoy it for the most part.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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devil aspect

Devil Aspect– here’s the thing: I liked the setting, the idea and the twist. Actually, make that LOVED the twist. It was pretty genius- the kind of ending that I never would’ve seen it coming, yet made total sense. And it was well written to boot. Which is why I feel pretty stingy with my banana rating, but, alas for some indefinable reason I just didn’t completely click with it. Unusually, this is the kind of book I wasn’t in love with, but would recommend anyway, because I do think other people will feel sparks flying with this one.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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So have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Or do you plan to pick any of them up? Let me know in the comments!

Soul of the Sword Had a Lot of Spirit

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review- but the heartfelt gushing is all me 😉 *

soul of the swordWell, I said at the end of my review for Shadow of the Fox that I wanted MORE and I definitely got it! Let’s cut to the chase, cos this book throws you straight back in at the deep end. This sequel picks up where the last one left off: the soul of the sword has broken free. With careful weaving of myths and legends, it shows you why this danger tears at the fabric of the world. Immediately, the reader is set upon by a terrifying tale and thrown deeper into the story’s history.

Thus, the stage is set and the narrative takes off at pace. A new, sharp voice enters the fray. Kagawa gives voice to a new (but also technically very old), sharp voice. We get to see first hand the struggle between good and evil taking root in the heart of a man. The reader can hear the thoughts of the hero tempered through the viewpoint of a villain. It’s fascinating to see the story from this perspective and it certainly makes for a mind-blowing opener. Instantly, the consequences of the last book are being felt.

Yet, hearing echoes of one character through another is far from the only brilliant moment when it comes to voice. Character is dealt with so strongly that you can tell who’s talking right away and without looking at the name at the start of each chapter. Yumeko is distinguishable through her humour and has all the same charm of the first book- perhaps even a little more 😉

I really enjoyed the writing in this one as well. With beautiful descriptions and poetic dialogue, this is Kagawa at her best. Everything adds to the atmosphere, giving the story a faintly mystical touch. The story flows beautifully and comes to life at each turn.

The pace sets off at a run and never loses footing. There is a clear sense that the plot is edging closer to the dragon’s wish, whilst also throwing in more intense challenges at the master of demon’s behest. There are plenty of clever, little developments along the way- but I have to give the most credit to the ending: it foxily sneaks up on you and pounces when you least expect. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say (rather vaguely) that it both concludes the storyline of the book perfectly AND sets up some crazy stuff for the next one!!

I can’t quite tell where it’s all heading, but one thing I know for certain is that the romance ante has been upped- not least because there’s more than one couple I am rooting for! If you’re hunting for forbidden love, then I can safely tell you that is something Kagawa excels at.

And I’m delighted to say that this was better than its predecessor. This is the kind of YA fantasy that will keep pulling me back to the genre- its got so much of the fun and vibrant spirit that makes it all worthwhile.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So, have you read this series? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Us Didn’t Exactly Bring Things Together

 
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Well, this is exactly the kind of book that made me avoid adult fiction for some time. A story about a soon-to-be divorced middle-aged man, with a son about to leave home, going on a life-affirming trip round Europe to try and reunite his fractured home… tha-a-a-a-t ultimately ends up with it all being for nothing. 

Still, it did have a few things going for it:

1.       It’s well written. Aside from perhaps the overabundance of lists, there are nice little turns of phrases like: “contorting his body into a question mark”

2.       There’s a sad side to the story and some parts are deeply moving.

3.       There’s an actual plot! Huzzah! (I know this might seem like a weird one to list, but enough adult/literary fiction is lack in this department, so I may as well praise it when I see it).

you suckBuuuut this is all completely ruined by the fact that ALL the characters in this are AWFUL PEOPLE. Pretentious, selfish, shitty people. I couldn’t stand any of them. I don’t know if this book was designed to make me hate everyone in it, but it certainly managed to do that. Let’s start with the worst offender shall we? The son, Albi, made me come up with a whole host of reasons why his parents should have shoved him in a canal and been done with him:

1.       His main reason for not wanting to go to Europe to see the art there, despite being an aspiring “artist”, is because European art was made by: “a lot of dead white Europeans”. UGH. What a reductive way to look at art. Also, WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE DO YOU EXPECT TO FIND IN EUROPE? The kind of idiot that would say Europe is full of Europeans is the kind of person who would take photos of his shoe (he does that too).

2.       He’s too surly to put forward any sensible reasons why he doesn’t want to go on holiday with his parents (aka “thanks for the offer mum and dad, but I’ve just graduated school and am about to turn 18, so no thanks” NOT “BUUUUT I WANNNNA GO PARTAYYYY WAHHH!”) Not that I think it’s a good idea to take a reluctant 17 year old on holiday, but you’re not gonna convince any parent with the excuse “I just want to get drunk!”

3.       On top of that, he’s the kind of ungrateful shit that’s had everything given to him on a silver platter, but STILL feels hard done to (because apparently parents/society/the world is oppressing you… by giving you everything?!) That’s right- he’s so WOKE that he understands how inherently *evil* the world is and therefore gets to throw his weight around like an overgrown toddler… because? I dunno if it was deliberate, but he was a bigger spoilt brat (and less nuanced) than Dudley Dursley.

4.       Also, he’s basically the villain. Don’t believe me? Here’s a list within the list of terrible things he does: refuses to spend time with his parents who’re bankrolling his trip, brings creepy 10 YEARS OLDER girlfriend to family breakfasts, gets angry at father for trying to de-escalate said fight, picks fights, runs away from said parents without a word leaving them to worry themselves sick, steals his father’s credit card, claims to be going round Europe on a shoestring budget WHILE USING SAID STOLEN CREDIT CARD, blames parents for all of above behaviour- I could go on but it’s an exhaustingly long list. The only excuse anyone can give for this behaviour is that he’s a teen- although that’ll only get him off the hook if you believe teens are inherently good and not responsible for their actions. Also, spoiler alert, he’s gay (big frickin whoop- do you think it gives you licence to be the world’s biggest prat?)

However, it’s no surprise that he’s a nightmare teen, as his mother Connie also sucks:

1.    do whatever you want   She is a terrible mother, because she let’s Albi do whatever he wants and tells her husband off for daring to discipline the out of control little berk. I have no idea why the whole book revolves around the father looking for his son to apologise, when really the kid needs a kick up the backside! (hopefully propelling him into said canal)

2.       She has an inexplicable affair and spends a lot of the book full of contempt for her husband- despite him putting her on a pedestal.

3.       In fact, everything she does is inexplicable– she marries a guy she doesn’t want to marry for no real reason (he just asked enough, I guess?) She then decides it’s time for a divorce cos she’s bored. I couldn’t think of a single reason to like this woman, despite being frequently told by the narrator how “terrific” she was. I for one would’ve liked an iota of evidence of her GLORIOUS AMAZING SUPERCALIFRAGILISTIC personality.

Lastly there was the protagonist. Ah Douglas- smart, but exceptionally stupid old Douglas. I feel almost like kicking a puppy when I say this, cos he was idiotically loyal, but the guy’s a bit of bellend too- here’s why:

1.       shocked faceHe inherently lacks logic. I’m gonna assume that the views he holds don’t belong to the author, so I’m not trying to have a go, but WOW he’s got some dim-witted ideas about the future. For instance, he believes we’re going to live in a futuristic hellscape, where there are more robots, yet SOMEHOW the poor are still doing manual labour? Also, apparently, the ever-growing entertainment industry will shrink overnight and disappear. All of which is the fault of capitalism. No need to back up any of those claims- just go with it. That’s what everyone else seems to do in the book. Either that or sit there and silently fume (which only made me hate them more).

2.       Ridiculous fortunetelling aside, he is also completely clueless about people. The quiz night is the perfect example why (if you’ve read the book, you’ll know what I mean). He has zero emotional intelligence- which meant any sympathy I had for him quickly dried up.

3.       He also doesn’t know when he’s right or when to stand up for himself. He apologises to his son, his wife- and nobody ever seems to cotton onto the fact he’s being too generous. Despite this supposedly being about coming back together, reconciling differences, there’s never any real communication where they thrash out their differences. Douglas is just WRONG, everyone else is RIGHT.

funny-facepalm-gifAdmittedly this had a few plot twists and turns here and there to make it seem like things might work out- but I’ll save you all the bother of worrying: it doesn’t. Things end in much the same place as they begin. Except Douglas is cool with the fact his life is falling apart now. So that’s good, I guess. If you’re into this sort of thing, you might even like it. For me, I’m pretty done with books that masquerade as artsy by going the bleak route.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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So, dare I ask, have you read this book? What did you think of it? Did you enjoy it more than me? Let me know in the comments- don’t be shy!

Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – June

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Hello all! I think I’m becoming a bit of an old record lately, recounting how busy I’ve been every month, explaining why I’m playing catch up and *yada yada yada*… Rather than dancing to that tune again, I’ll skip all that and just say if you’re interested in my adventures offline you can check out this post 😉 For everyone else, we can just get straight to the books, cos there’s a lot of them!

devil's thief

The Devil’s Thief– I am haunted by my disappointment for this book. It’s the kind of book I quite enjoyed reading, but look back on with irritation. Because it could’ve been so good! Following its powerful predecessor, this had a bold opening, with stunning prose, thus assuring me I was in for a treat. And yet somehow it didn’t manage to fulfil the promise. While there was some entertaining action throughout, the structure was ultimately more disjointed than The Last Magician and I didn’t feel as connected to it. There was far too much squabbling and I didn’t care for the characters as I should. I also felt that the romantic problems were repetitive and pointless- maybe because I’d just watched a video on the rule of three- or maybe because there’s only so many times you can read that Esta is *a strong woman* and Harte is *too old fashioned* (what with him being from a different time period and all). Problem is, this was not helped by the fact that Esta literally wasn’t listening to the fact Harte was possessed!! I’m honestly unsure about whether I should continue with this series now- despite the fact the twist at the end was decent and I’d kinda like to see how it all works out. It would be really great if someone could pop back from the future and let me know if it’s worth it 😉

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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emergency contact

Emergency Contact- do you know that feeling where you pick up a book and instantly know it’s not for you? Well I had that with this book. The second I’d started reading I knew. But I’d waited in a queue to read it on overdrive and now I had the (albeit not physical) copy, I was determined to finish it dammit! Annnd it was totally not worth it. I *hated* the writing style straight away- it felt like it was trying too darn hard to be down with the kids. And there was SO MUCH virtue signalling. Such as: “Never mind the karma of a total non-Jew stealing a book about the Jewish holocaust from a Jewish person.” Everything. Is. Wrong. With. That. Sentence. I can’t even will myself to dissect it. Or the time when she expresses her thoughts on Memoirs of a Geisha: “a book Penny adored until she discovered some rando white guy had written it”. Wow, stunning and brave 😉 I found Penny insufferably unlikeable and ergo did not have much interest in the plot/romance/much of anything to do with this. This is not to trash the book- I just think you can figure out within the first sentence/page/chapter whether this is for you or not. That’s definitely something I should have done. Moral of the story: I need to DNF more! Needless to say, I have not learnt that lesson quite yet 😉

Rating: 1½/5 bananas

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a separate peace

A Separate Peace– “it’s an American classic”, I was sneeringly told by the person that recommended it. Now, that may very well have prejudiced me against the book, but I will still say I am not quite sure why it is considered an American classic. I never connected with the dry writing style; I thought the story lacked a certain punchiness. And this all culminated in a dull and unearned ending. Finny was, admittedly, an interesting character- it was just a shame he wasn’t explored as fully as he could have been. There were also some interesting ideas here- it was again a pity that they amounted to very little in the eyes of this reader, since they were conveyed in a textbook-style telling instead of showing. Most notably, telling me a moral at the end, without demonstrating it throughout the story feels cheap and pointless. Personally, I found this book a bit of a waste of time, though there was potential in it.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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otherworld

Otherworld– another in a string of bad books. However, the positive side of this one is I DNF’d it! That’s right! I finally learnt my lesson! Why was this the straw that broke this monkey’s back? Well, there’s a long list of reasons- not least that it felt like reading a string of clichés and recycled ideas. This was Ready Player One, only without the great voice and stand-out characters. The protagonist had ZERO personality (no, having a “kishka” does not count- it just makes you a racial stereotype- so thanks for that I guess?) We’re told over and over that the Otherworld is a *fabulous* place, but I never felt it shown in the flat descriptions. Perhaps if I hadn’t had a string of meh reads this month I would have been more inclined to finish it- but life is too short and I had little hope of it improving. Based on what I’d read so far, I gave it:

Rating: 1/5 bananas

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beautiful disaster

Beautiful Disaster– well the clue is in the title I guess 😉 Just so damn ugly and petty- though perhaps not as terrible as I was led to expect (although I do think a lot of the love interest’s behaviours wouldn’t fly today). Oh and heads up, the people in this all suck. Strangely, that wasn’t my biggest issue though. What actually spoiled this book for me is the weird structure- there are so many time jumps and issues with pacing. At points the characters would be in the middle of some crucial interlude in their lives, only to skip a few weeks. For me, this was incredibly jarring.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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panic

Panic– Lauren Oliver to the rescue! I am always assured that when I pick up one of Oliver’s books I’m going to be rewarded with a wonderfully written, interesting concept, entertaining read- and this was no exception! This was a thrill a minute and I really liked how the idea was handled. I also found the characters engaging enough and the twist solid. While this may not be her best book, I still enjoyed it and would recommend if you like her work.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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dark matter

Dark Matter– this was by far one of the best books I read all month. From the intriguing opening, this had a fast-paced intensity that made it hard for me to keep my breath. There are some creepy turns to this and it works out as a fascinating thought experiment. What I liked most about it was how Jason consistently chose to be the best version of himself (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve read it 😉 ) This was an absolutely wild ride, an exhilarating journey, with a bonkers ending- in the best kind of way!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Always Never Yours– this had both a unique and typical plot- which completely works in its favour. Often in YA contemporaries, whatever the characters are studying in school has some sort of bearing on the plot. But it’s usually rather a disappointment. How many times will we see a character studying Romeo and Juliet, for instance, only to be swept off their feet by someone they can’t have? This is always especially funny in a high school when they’re being all *melodramatic* high school about their performances and trying to fit in all 5 acts (when even professionals know to cut for time lol). Now, while I won’t say this was wholly original in that regard, it did miraculously flip the script a little by exploring the role of Rosalind. Even if the character of Megan sometimes made very little sense to me, I did appreciate this fresh take, especially as it allowed for the mc grow in courage, learning to take the lead, instead of always waiting in the wings. It was just a shame that (because of weirdly inexplicable girl rules?) she had to forgive a friend who betrayed her by the end of the story. For me personally, the protagonist was too nice in this regard, sacrificing her character development to be treated like a doormat. Frankly, I’m struggling not to rant about how all cheats are skeez-bags, so I’ll just skip to the fact that at least I enjoyed the mc’s romance and leave it at that.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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death comes to pemberley

audiobook2Death Comes to Pemberley– if I had to describe this in a couple of words, I’d sum it up as enjoyable fanfic. I won’t be pretending this is in any way highbrow, when in fact, it is so very, very silly. Personally, the sole reason I picked this up was that I’ve been in the mood for a lot of Austen lately and can’t seem to get enough of what actually exists in canon (anyone fancy building a time machine and fetching Austen from the past so she can write at least one more book?). So, naturally, what was I to do but check out a murder mystery set in Austenland? 😉 Nonetheless, one of its biggest failings is not that it insists on putting the characters of Pride and Prejudice in the most ludicrous of circumstances, but that it recaps the original so frequently and unnecessarily that the point is a little laboured. I confess, I have very little knowledge of fanfic, so perhaps someone can answer in the comments if characters excessively recalling the events of their past is a common theme in the genre? Regardless, I did have a bizarrely enjoyable time with this, mostly thanks to the atmospheric hold of the author and the rather pleasant reading from the audiobook narrator.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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So have you read any of these? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments!

This is going to hurt was far from painless…

 

I liked this more than I expected- and I didn’t expect much. I’ll confess, with my recently resurfacing squeamishness, the memoirs of a former Junior Doctor weren’t high on my list. But this incisive, insider vision of the NHS ended up being too hard to resist. While it wouldn’t have been something I’d necessarily seek out, I’m glad this cuttingly comedic story fell into my lap.

Because dark humour is up my street- and this has that by the (admittedly sometimes icky) bucketload. So, rather than telling my fellow borderline-germophobes not to read this, I’d probably suggest skipping the footnotes, because that’s where most of the “arghh my eyes” moments are 😉

Admittedly, I sometimes found the Kay’s experiences unrelatable at times, yet that did not detract from the importance of his narrative. Like I said, this does give valuable insight into the ghoulish state of the UK’s National Health Service, for which I am grateful. This touched on a lot of significant issues, from the obvious issues of overworking and understaffing to how people even end up on this track in the first place (I always find it of particular interest that unis prize candidates who can play the clarinet passably well rather than considering if the 18 in question has the resilience and empathy needed for the job). Needless to say, all of this did not exactly allay my fears of going to the doctor.

Because at the same time as sympathising with a lot of the people who work for the health service, I was also struck by the number of cretins in this world (the example that most springs to mind was the fool interrupting a genuine emergency for a drill and then demanding an apology when this doesn’t go down well). Just for that incident alone, I’d say this isn’t the kind of book that makes you all fuzzy-eyed about humanity.

And on that note, as promised, don’t expect a happy ending. This concludes on the most depressing of stories; this is not a comfortable book to read by any stretch of the imagination. Never before has a book title been so literal. I do not think I can invoke the spectre of it and do it justice. So, I will just leave you with the instruction to read the book and see for yourself:

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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And that’s my prognosis! Have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!